Julia Kelley

Julia Kelley

Vinyasa Yoga Teacher and Intuitive Coach
Santa Monica, CA

Introduction: Tell us about yourself.

I am a Yoga Teacher, Astrologer, and Intuitive Coach based in Santa Monica California. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, I discovered Yoga nearly 7 years ago when I stumbled into a class on accident at a gym in college. Fast forward a few years later and I was backpacking through Asia with only a backpack and a yoga mat on me, doing downward dogs on the beaches of Vietnam and attending silent retreats in the jungles of Thailand. My discovery of yoga was less of a curiosity and more of a calling.The first time I truly and intentionally stepped on my mat occurred as I was going through a dark night of the soul. While working through depression, anxiety, and grief, Yoga reconnected me with my body and breath and taught me the importance of gratitude in both hard times and good times. My practice as a Yogi led me to a stronger dedication to sharing my practice and healing with others by becoming a teacher.

How long have you been practicing yoga? 

For around 7 Years

How did you get started? 

The story above highlights the big picture, but in more detail, I started with a fascination about the poses of yoga and language of Sanskrit. I heard things related to mind-body-soul, and I wanted to feel what that meant. The more times I stepped on my mat, the closer I got to understanding the philosophy and testimonials of yoga. My journey to yoga hasn’t been straight forward, I’ve has phases of doing it only for the workout, or only to master a single pose. Now I take this experience to teach the true meaning of the practice to others who may have not experienced its true impact yet.

What type of yoga do you teach?

I am trained in Hot Vinyasa, and I also enjoy leading Yin practices. My teachings are inspired by Kundalini Yoga and Tantric philosophy  My goal as a teacher is to guide students to connective experiences while keeping them informed and educated on proper alignment.

What do you prefer/enjoy about this particular form of yoga?

I enjoy teaching Vinyasa as I see it as a gateway into yoga for many people, especially those looking for a workout. This type of yoga invites students to step onto their mat without any pressure to have a “spiritual” experience, however, many do find a deeper connection between their mind and body once they do experience a hot class.  I pull inspiration from Kundalini and Tantric philosophy as a way to expand the horizon for those interested in a deeper exploration of yoga. 

Do you feel anyone can enjoy and gain from yoga? 

Of course! Whether you have never tried yoga before or you go to a class every week, there is always something new to explore and experience in yoga. My favorite part of yoga is that that it is not defined by any single teacher or experience, if you didn’t like it the first time you tried, try going to a different class or studio, you may have a completely different experience!

What has yoga done for you as person? 

Where do I begin…yoga has connected me to the truest and most authentic parts of myself. It has made me more aware of my own health and the importance of taking care of my mind and body. It has also made me more aware of my environment and the people who I connect with. Yoga has helped to expand the way that I view myself, my relationships, and the world around me. I have found a stronger and deeper self-love and appreciation for life through yoga. 

Do you feel yoga is more mental or physical?

 It is definitely both, it develops the connection between the body and the mind. The more that I practice yoga, the more that it benefits my mental health. I have found the same with teaching, students often walk away from classes with new epiphanies, realizations, or intentions. A single yoga practice will ignite the mind and the body simultaneously, it's truly hard to separate the two.

Do you believe it is an alternative form of healing and medicine? 

I do. I think the benefits of yoga are incomprehensible in many ways, and the more research that goes into it, the more benefits will be found. What has been found so far, with relation to yoga as a form of healing, is that yoga significantly benefits both the nervous system and the immune system, which are related to disease. Practicing Yoga and Pranayama (breath) allows the mind and body to relax, reset, and restore, which then allows our body to heal itself.

Do you associate yoga with Hinduism? If yes, in what ways? 

Yoga philosophy stems from Hinduism, and the yoga that we’ve come to know in the west only stands on the surface of the philosophical teachings. Yoga is known as “a living tradition” and thus, to truly know yoga is to know the tradition. So of course, there is an association with Hinduism, as yoga would not exist without this association. However, I personally do not believe that one must dedicate themselves to the teachings of Hinduism in order to explore yoga for the first time.

Is yoga a way of life or a way to exercise or meditate? 

I think yoga often begins as a way to exercise or meditate, and evolves into a way of life, if you continue down the path.

What is your dharma, your life mission? 

My dharma is to connect deeply with my soul in order to help other’s connect with theirs. 

How important is living a healthy lifestyle (clean eating/eating healthy for example) important to the yogi lifestyle? 

I have found that a healthy lifestyle is extremely important to living the yogi lifestyle. Honoring what comes into the body is a part of understanding and practicing yoga. 

Any natural ingredients and/or vitamins that you recommend? And why?

Incorporating more spices and herbs into the diet the best advice I could give for those who follow a traditionally American diet. Turmeric, Cayenne, and black pepper are great for immune and digestive help, also helping with inflammation. These are great additions to any meal! Focusing on gut-nourishing and cleansing foods and ingredients are also great for yogis, such as kombucha (although you should watch the sugar) and kimchi. A good rule of thumb for food is to ‘eat the rainbow,’ AKA getting your reds, yellows, blues, greens etc. A good way to get your greens is to eat chlorophyll-rich food, such as spinach, spirulina, wheatgrass, matcha, and kelp.

How important is hydrating/drinking water to the yoga lifestyle/your practice? 

Water is life! Literally! Our bodies are nearly 70% water, which means when we are dehydrated, our bodies are deprived. When you sweat, your body looses hydration, so it is important to replenish it. Drinking roughly 8 glasses a day is recommended. A good habit to get into is carrying a water bottle around with you and keeping it full, this is an easy way to remember to drink water.

When and where do you currently teach?

I am currently taking private clients for 1-1 sessions focused on alignment and exploration, my sessions are great for those looking to explore yoga for the first time. Soon I will be teaching classes in Santa Monica, California. You can follow my instagram to stay updated on when and where that will be! 

Where can our readers find you? (Instagram, Website, etc)

Website: Julia-Kelley.com

IG: JuliaKelleyxo

Anything else you want to share? 

I am launching a community this month for those who are want to follow their curiosity about Yoga, Wellness, and Intuition, while connecting with like-minded people. The community will feature a twice-a-month group call and a facebook group with resources and prompts for open dialouge and intention accountability. This is a great opportunity to deepen your understanding and connection to yoga, while doing it alongside people on a similar path!